Pubdate: Tue, 1 Dec 2009
Source: Meadow Lake Progress (CN SN)
Copyright: 2009 Osprey Media
Author: Robert Sharpe


Dear Editor,

Regarding your November 20 editorial, the importance of parental
involvement in reducing adolescent drug use cannot be overstated.
School-based extracurricular activities also have been shown to reduce
use. They keep kids busy during the hours they're most likely to get
into trouble. In order for drug prevention efforts to effectively
reduce harm, they must be reality-based. The most popular drug and the
one most closely associated with violent behavior is often overlooked
by parents. That drug is alcohol, and it takes far more lives each
year than all illegal drugs combined. Alcohol may be legal, but it's
still the No. 1 drug problem.

For decades, school-based drug prevention efforts have been dominated
by sensationalist programs like Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Good
intentions are no substitute for effective drug education. Independent
evaluations of DARE have found the program to be either ineffective or
counterproductive. The scare tactics used do more harm than good.
Students who realize they've been lied to about marijuana may make the
mistake of assuming that harder drugs like methamphetamine are
relatively harmless as well. This is a recipe for disaster. Drug
education programs must be reality-based or they may backfire when
kids are inevitably exposed to drug use among their peers.

The following U.S. Government Accounting Office report confirms my
claims regarding DARE:

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy 
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